Julio Arca has committed his future to South Shields after signing a contract with the club.
The midfielder has made a huge impression at Mariners Park since joining last September, and has now turned down interest from elsewhere to sign a new deal.
The former Sunderland and Middlesbrough star was a key part of last season’s Northern League Division Two title-winning squad.
So far, he has made 37 appearances for the Mariners, scoring 13 goals. He has also taken on the role of vice-captain this season.
Julio said: “It’s good to commit to the club even more.
“I’m really enjoying my football and it’s the logical next step to reaffirm that commitment by signing the contract.
“The club is trying to be as professional as it can be and I want to be a part of that. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the last year.
“I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season in Division One, which is going to be difficult.
“We’ve done really well over the last three games, though, especially the match at Penrith on Monday.
“We totally dominated the game and were very patient with the ball. It was a pleasure to be involved in that and hopefully we can continue to do well.”
Meanwhile, Julio and Shields manager Jon King will deliver a coaching course at Mariners Park this Thursday and Friday.
The details can be found on Facebook here, and places can be booked by texting your child’s name, age and the words ‘Mariners Park’ to 07795 024333.
Julio and his Shields team-mates are next in action on Saturday, with the Mariners hosting Whitley Bay on what is non-league day.
The club would very much appreciate your support at the game, which will kick-off at 3pm.
Second half goals from David Carson and Jon Shaw secured a deserved third consecutive win for South Shields as they comfortably beat Penrith 2-0 on Monday.
In the Cumbrian sunshine, Shields went second in the early Northern League Division One table in front of a strong travelling support.
The Mariners had to do without four of their most potent attacking threats, with Carl Finnigan, David Foley, Gavin Cogdon and Stephen Ramsey all unavailable.
However, that did not seem to affect them as they swarmed all over their hosts at the Frenchfield Stadium.
Shaw went close early on as he headed wide a cross from Craig Baxter, while David Palmer hit an effort which was deflected into the side netting.
Baxter, Louis Storey and Barrie Smith also had opportunities, and Carson flashed a ball across the face of goal which just evaded a touch.
In the Cumbrian Bank Holiday heat, Penrith struggled to threaten their visitors, with Martyn Coleman off target on a number of occasions against his former club.
The closest they came was when forward Ryan Veitch trickled a shot wide, while at the other end, goalkeeper Jonny Jamieson did well to prevent a certain own goal before half-time.
Shields stayed patient in their pursuit of goals, and two arrived in four devastating second half minutes as they put their hosts to the sword.
The first was made in the Carson household, with Danny clipping a ball for brother David to run onto, and he chipped it over Jamieson before running after it and nodding into an empty net.
Shaw put the result beyond any real doubt with a trademark header as he finished off a right-wing cross from ex-Gateshead team-mate Baxter.
The Mariners closed the game out with relative ease, but goalkeeper Joss Carmichael did need to make one excellent late save as he kept Coleman off the scoresheet.
Shields host Whitley Bay at Mariners Park on non-league day on Saturday, and will be hoping for another big crowd after a strong and vocal support followed them to Cumbria.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Carmichael, Baxter, Arca (Phillips 83), Storey, Clark, Danny Carson, Smith, Scroggins (c), Shaw, David Carson (Byrne 77), Palmer (Briggs 70). Subs not used: Connell, Morse.
Goals: David Carson (54), Shaw (58).
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Peter Talbot.
South Shields will aim to pick up a third win in less than a week when they travel to Penrith (2pm kick-off) on Bank Holiday Monday.
The Mariners go into the game in buoyant mood following their 6-0 success at Chester-le-Street Town on Saturday.
However, they are expecting a difficult test against Penrith, who claimed their first league win of the season on Saturday as they saw off West Allotment Celtic 2-1.
One of their main threats is set to be provided by Martyn Coleman, who scored 11 goals in 19 appearances for Shields during a three-month spell last season.
The last meeting between the two sides was in September 2014 in the League Cup.
The Mariners looked set to pull off an upset when they went 2-0 up in the first half, with goals from Lee Maitland and Adam Sharp seeing them take control of the game.
Penrith pulled a goal back early in the second half and then, despite a series of saves from Shields goalkeeper Steven Hubery, forced extra-time with a goal two minutes into stoppage time.
Barrie Smith was also sent off, and the one-man advantage proved crucial for the hosts in the extra 30 minutes as they struck twice more to secure a 4-2 victory. Of the Shields squad that day, only Smith and Stephen Ramsey remain with the club.
Penrith finished 14th in Northern League Division One last season, and Shields first-team coach Gary Middleton is expecting a difficult test on Monday at the Frenchfield Stadium, which has a post code of CA11 8UA.
Middleton said: “Penrith is a tough place to go, so it will be a tricky game.
“No doubt we’ll need to be at our best, but if we maintain the form we’re showing at the moment, hopefully we can bring back the three points.
“We played some great stuff on Saturday, and everyone contributed to a great performance.
“I thought Jon Shaw was different class. His movement was good and he was quality all over the pitch. It was a top, top performance from him.
“It’s virtually a totally new crop of players, and we’re still looking to add to the squad, so it’s going to take time.
“Lads are getting to know each other as the weeks go on, so it’s only going to get better, but everything is going in the right direction.”
Kick-off is at 2pm, and the club would very much appreciate support at the game. For those unable to make it, updates can be followed on the club’s Twitter page here.
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Peter Talbot.